SATURDAY, January 16, 2010—Frederick J. Healy

THEME: No theme today—Just a themeless/freestyle puzzle that may be a notch or two harder than most Saturday L.A. Times puzzles

What have we got here? Let's take a peek.
  • 1A: Nut (WHACK JOB). Hey! Who are you calling a whack job? This is how you kick off a puzzle, folks—with a knockout answer at 1-Across.
  • 15A: Dolts (AIRHEADS). Hey! Who are you calling airheads? Mom! This puzzle is calling us names.
  • 19A: Texas-Louisiana border river (SABINE). Whoa. This...is not common fill. The 4-letter rivers, sure. But not so much the 6-letter ones. Not a very familiar river, is it? This could also have been clued in relation to the ancient Oscan-speaking people of the central Apennines in Italy. Which clue is easier for you? I call it a tie.
  • 25A: 1951 Emmy winner Imogene (COCA). She did a show with Sid Caesar. This might also have been clued as the coca leaf. Which has more of an L.A. vibe: Imogene Coca or the extract of the coca leaf?
  • 27A: Title burglar played by Bruce Willis in a 1991 film (HUDSON HAWK). Uh, 1991 called. It wants its outdated pop-culture reference back. I never saw the movie, but I read the clue to my husband just now and he got it immediately. "You know that?" I exclaimed. "Doesn't everyone?" he replied.
  • 35A: 1992 Grammy winner for Best Female Pop Vocal Performance (K.D. LANG). She has got some pipes, I tell you.

  • Ancient crosswordese with a long but maybe not so distinguished pedigree! 38A: Old shipping allowance (TRET) and 7D: Concubine's room (ODA).
  • 42A: Stock mover (CATTLE PROD). Ow! I was nervous that the Zap with a beam below this was going to be TASE, but it was merely LASE.
  • 46A: Crab's sensor (PALP). I just like that word.
  • 57A: Loll (SPRAWL). And I like these words too.
  • 59A: Mr. Right (THE ONE). Terrific answer—"the one" is solidly in the vernacular as a two-word entity.
  • 4D: Former "SNL" regular Farley (CHRIS). If you were a Chris Farley fan like I was, I recommend the book The Chris Farley Show, sort of an oral history and remembrance of him by those who loved him. Sad story. Apparently he was also incredibly sweet and generous in his private life.

  • Odd jobs! We've got 21D: Warehouse workers (STOCKERS) and 24D: Some new parents (ADOPTERS). They're a little stilted as crossword entries go...but the latter reminds me of a blog post I just read about Haitian orphans awaiting placement with an adoptive family in the U.S. The kids at the BRESMA orphanage had already been matched with American parents, but now they are stuck without transportation out of Haiti. The post has a link for donating to that group.
  • 36D: Model of excellence (NONESUCH). Is that what that word means? I gotta start working that one into my conversation. "That Tyler Hinman is a nonesuch when it comes to solving crosswords."
Crosswordese 101: If you were not familiar with the following answers, read their Crosswordese 101 write-ups and add them to your crossword vocabulary.
Everything Else — 1A: Nut (WHACK JOB); 9A: Apollo, musically (LYRIST); 15A: Dolts (AIRHEADS); 16A: Knows about (IS ONTO); 17A: Rubbernecked (STARED AT); 18A: Car lot array (SEDANS); 19A: Texas-Louisiana border river (SABINE); 20A: Sagan's subj. (ASTR.); 22A: Wrestler Flair (RIC); 23A: The way you see it (AS IS); 24A: Works in una galleria (ARTE); 25A: 1951 Emmy winner Imogene (COCA); 26A: Feminine name ending (-INA); 27A: Title burglar played by Bruce Willis in a 1991 film (HUDSON HAWK); 30A: Telecom setup (LAN); 31A: Brian who produced some U2 albums (ENO); 32A: Firm heads, for short (CEOS); 33A: Note in an E major scale (G SHARP); 35A: 1992 Grammy winner for Best Female Pop Vocal Performance (K.D. LANG); 38A: Old shipping allowance (TRET); 39A: Nice season? (ÉTÉ); 40A: Gut reaction? (OOF); 42A: Stock mover (CATTLE PROD); 45A: A funder of PBS's "American Masters" (NEA); 46A: Crab's sensor (PALP); 47A: Some flawed mdse. (IRRS.); 48A: Get-up-and-go (ZEST); 49A: Barbary Coast land: Abbr. (ALG.); 50A: Zap with a beam (LASE); 51A: Succeeds completely (ACES IT); 53A: Place to learn about cells, briefly (BIO LAB); 55A: Improve in small ways (FINE-TUNE); 57A: Loll (SPRAWL); 58A: Beckons (ATTRACTS); 59A: Mr. Right (THE ONE); 60A: It's the most likely to succeed (BEST SHOT); 1D: Holiday toast (WASSAIL); 2D: Ran into trouble (HIT A SNAG); 3D: High-spirited horses (ARABIANS); 4D: Former "SNL" regular Farley (CHRIS); 5D: Insightful (KEEN); 6D: Green hue (JADE); 7D: Concubine's room (ODA); 8D: Pleiades components (B STARS); 9D: Minded (LISTENED TO); 10D: Important river in WWI (YSER); 11D: Wand (ROD); 12D: One after another (IN A ROW); 13D: Gift giver, informally (ST. NICK); 14D: "Vissi d'arte" singer (TOSCA); 21D: Warehouse workers (STOCKERS); 24D: Some new parents (ADOPTERS); 25D: Havana home (CASA); 27D: Spirit (HEART); 28D: Fly-by-night (UNRELIABLE); 29D: Rolled into a cup (HOLED); 34D: www letters (HTTP); 36D: Model of excellence (NONESUCH); 37D: Discusses (GOES INTO); 41D: Most profitable, as a business contract (FATTEST); 42D: Islamic leader (CALIPH); 43D: 1980s-'90s Tennessee senator (AL GORE); 44D: Ready-made (PREFAB); 46D: Brewer Frederick (PABST); 48D: Sorority letters (ZETAS); 50D: Egg-rolling site (LAWN); 51D: Colony workers (ANTS); 52D: Like some U.S. mail (CERT.); 54D: Thai native (LAO); 56D: Ore suffix (-ITE).


imsdave said...

"Hudson Hawk" starts out like it's going to be a fun movie. Love the scene where Danny Aiello (great crosswordese there!) and Bruce Willis time their heist by singing "Swinging on a Star" (more from Greene later?). Unfortunately, it deteriorates quickly into a piece of poop.

I liked the minitheme of unusual consonant strings: BST, GSH, KDL.

A bit on the easy side, but a nice piece of work.

Thanks to Mr. Healy and, of course, to Orange.

gespenst said...

I didn't find it easy! This is the first time I had to resort to google in a long time!

A few runs through and I had probably 70% of the grid complete, but the upper corners were weak and the right side not quite to the bottom (think OOF) was as well.

I ended up googling SABINE which helped me get WASSAIL. Then googled BSTARS (knew they were STARS just not which kind, lol) which helped me get WHACKJOB and AIRHEADS, HITSASNAG and ARABIANS fell into place giving me the NW.

My downfall in the NE corner was IS IN ON rather than IS ONTO but googling Apollo helped me w/ LYRIST (and corrected my spelling of ISER to YSER) and the rest came together there.

I had thought of NONESUCH for the SE but it didn't make sense ... turns out I was right and didn't know it and then I was able to fill in the couple blanks I had there.

Not too bad for 4 googles!

Rex Parker said...

At 4:20, this was my fastest LAT Saturday in ... well, maybe ever. Ridiculous. Fun, though. PALP! Never heard of it. That was about my only hesitation.


This puzzle was pretty hard for me, but for some weird reason I got it done in less than 20 minutes (which is pretty good for this old man). I did it online and that may have been why. I thought the clues were quite original overall. In some respects I like non-theme puzzles more because there are usually better words used.
I liked seeing words like HUDSONHAWK, KDLANG, TOSCA, and NONESUCH. Not too crazy about OOF, HOLED, and RIC. Overall, I'd give Healy & Norris a B-plus.

Fave: Imogene COCA

Unfave: ODA (reminds me too much of my past life).

CHRIS Farley was a genuine guy... kind, generous, and affable. It's rare nowadays to find those qualities in actors off-stage. I think Amy said it best, "incredibly sweet". Not sure I want to read that sad story though.

Oh that's interesting... a while back we had a big flap about whether the horse should be called an ARAB or an ARABIAN.

I too like the word PALP ("Crab's sensor")... I just learned that from another puzzle yesterday.


With that, I think I'll just have my coffee with a Pecan Gooey Roll and SPRAWL.

Have a lovely weekend y'all!


I was just watching the NEWS... the earthquake devastation in Haiti is horrible and somehow I want to help. There are quite a few fine relief organizations to which I (we) can contribute to. Some that I've used in the past are:
- Habitat for Humanity
- The American Red Cross
- Samaritan's Purse
- Salvation Army
- World Vision
They will all take donations via Internet and that's perhaps the quickest way we can help out. Of course our prayers are even quicker.

Just a little friendly reminder of what we can do this weekend.

Parsan said...

A good puzzle that had me really thinking hard at almost each clue. I know I would not have been able to do it without what I have learned from this blog and our leaders.

Did not see HUDSON HAWK but somehow knew it after HOLED, CASA, and ST NICK were in. Many two word answers: BEST SHOT, FINE TUNE, THE ONE, BIO LAB, ACES IT, STARED AT, AS IS and three word answers: IN A ROW and HITS A SNAG.

And what about LISTENED TO, GOES INTO, and IS ONTO?

Fun to see WHACK JOB stacked with AIR HEAD. New word for me PALP. I miss Carl Sagan (ASTR) and his take on the cosmos.

Now have PABST Blue Ribbon Beer jingle from early TV running through my head.

Momentarily stuck on stock mover (new product?, merger talk?) Noooo--CATTLE PROD! Best clued word.

Enjoyed the write up Orange!

ddbmc said...

DA Bulls!DA Bears! DA Beers! DITKA!DA Superfans! Talk about your (loveable) WHACK JOBS! One of my favorite SNL skits! My kids still adore CHRIS Farley, owners of SNL dvds and movies.

Now for DA puzzle. Wanted Santa for ST NICK, CATTLE CARS instead of PROD, CUBA instead of CASA.
That is always the best part of a puzzle, getting waylayed and figuring out the path back. CW 101 is terrific. I actually discovered that link awhile back! No googles today. Pushed through, but took MUCH longer than Stud Puzzler, @Rex!

New to me: PALP, CALIPH. Knew ODA from "Memoirs of a Geisha," and WASSAIL from an old Christmas album.

@Orange, I didn't know HUDSON HAWK right off the bat, either! Once I saw the HU from down answers, it popped into mind--must be 'cause he's a Jersey Boy!-although not of the singing variety.

TOSCA=Maria Jeritza, a woman I had the distinguished honor of meeting, late in her life, early in mine. Her legacy, in the operatic world, is legendary. She and Puccini colaborated on the roll of TOSCA together. Madame Jeritza's performance, defined "Vissi d'arte," quite by accident! Maria Jeritza

Oddly enough, recordings of her voice are somewhat scarce and apparently, not well received. Her voice is described as "off pitch." According to various articles, she was very uncomfortable in the smaller quarters of a recording studio, just not her milieu! During WWII, she helped to get many Jews out of Germany.

Speaking of ARTE,it appears as part of a clue (d'arte) clue and an answer. Kosher or no?

@JNH, solving puzzles seems rather trivial, in light of the Haitian devastation. Heard on the news this morning, that using that "text" message to give money, may take 90 days to get the money to it's destination. Give to one of the better known relief agencies. If you give to American Red Cross, make sure you designate funds directly to the Haitian Relief Fund. I remember this being a problem during Katrina Relief and Tsunami relief efforts.

Parsan said...

@Orange--What a great up-lift for the weekend! Just listened to KD LANG and again thought there is no one like her performing today. Her intonation, phrasing, respect for and interprtation of lyrics with a lack of musical hystronics should, but doesn't, make her a NONESUCH for young pop stars today!

Anonymous said...

Wanted Nonpareil for nonesuch so that slowed me down. Now in Houston from New Orleans so the Sabine River was a total gimme - cross it frequently. There is a river I also cross and it's called Old River/New River - sort of an island in the middle? Weird.

Challenging puzzle I thought - got totally hung up in the southeast corner. Also had Coors/Labat before I got Pabst!

Good puzzle for a wet Saturday morning


@ddbmc et al

A new website just went up for Haitian relief. Two of our former Presidents have formed a coalitian to speed up relief.


Parsan said...

My favorite relief organization is Artists for Peace and Justice. Money raised by actors like Ben Stiller, Jessica Alba, Brad Pitt, and Angelina Jolie is given, 100% of it, to the work of Fr. Rick Frechette, a priest and doctor who has been in Haiti for two decades building and running schools, an orphanage, and hospitals, supplying clean water, and serving the populous in many ways.

Acording to an interview I saw on TV last night, Olivia Wilde (House-TV), a frequent volunteer in Haiti
(as recently as December) and is there now, said the banks have been leveled so there is no money being transfered. AFPAJ delivers the money directly to Fr. Frechette and it will be used for clean-up, medicine and food, transportation for more doctors, etc. Again, 100% of money donated goes to Haitian relief.

Check out their website.

ddbmc said...

@Thanks, @JNH and @Parsan. Good suggestions, all!

We "collaborate" nicely! (sorry for the typo above!)

shrub5 said...

@Orange: Thanks for the kd lang clip. Love both her and Jeff Buckley's renditions of "Hallelujah" by Leonard Cohen. I don't think I really understand what the lyrics are all about, however.

I was a Chris Farley fan, too. I'll always remember the SNL sketch in which he is auditioning to be a Chippendale's dancer....Chris, with his roly poly belly, in competition with the buff Patrick Swayze. Hilarious! Very sad that his excesses did him in.

Loved the puzzle and found it somewhat difficult. I was determined not to google and finished without help. Didn't know if Apollo was a lutist, lyrist or something else so just put the IST in. That NE corner was a toughie. I guessed TOSCA, couldn't remember YSER even though I've stumbled on it several times before (d'oh). Favorite clues/answers: NONESUCH, CATTLE PROD, UNRELIABLE and THE ONE. PALP and SABINE were new for me. Nice to see ALG. as Algeria rather than a math subject for a change.

@ddbmc: "Memoirs of a Geisha" is among my favorite books however I didn't remember ODA!

C said...

Really fun puzzle. For some reason, I didn't find it that difficult, finished it in about 5 minutes on paper. Go figure. Must have had the wind behind me ;^)

CrazyCat said...

Hard, but fun puzzle for me today. Lots of clever clues. Got WHACKJOB and AIRHEADS right off the bat. Used to cross the SABINE when we lived in Dallas and traveled to the Florida panhandle, so that was easy . Where I got bogged down was in the SE with FATTEST, GOES INTO, NONESUCH and OOF. Know the record label NONESUCH, but guess I never knew what the word actually meant. PALP was also new for me. Originally had GAS instead of OOF for gut reaction.

Dropped a check off yesterday at the Red Cross. Make it out to American Red Cross/Haiti Relief and they promise it will go to Haiti. Thanks Orange for the KD LANG clip - beautiful song. Does she always perform sans shoes?

lit.doc said...

After being vivisected by the NYT puzz last p.m., came here today hoping to have some fun and recover some shred of dignity. Thank you, Orange and Mr. Healy, for providing both.

@Orange, just about egested coffee through my nose while reading your write-up. That was exactly what I needed this morning (the humor, I mean). I live in Tejas, so Sabine was a gimme. Also, same reaction as your husband re HUDSON HAWK. It’s my favorite Bruce Willis flic. And thanks for the clips of K.D.Lang (I’m a big Leonard Cohen fan, and she gives that song more heart than does LC, IMHO) and Chris Farley (sigh). BTW, those Crosswordese 101 links you embedded are reeeally helpful! (Rex’s “much ADO in an ODA is a great mnemonic.)

Funniest clue moment was 56D. When I read it, my first thought was “Wow! A fresh new way to clue OREO!” (Yeah, I know that would violate all sorts of CW101 rules, but still—hope springs eternal.)

Last square filled was PAL_ crossing HTT_. Seriously. I even ran the alphabet once before I went back and actually looked at the clues. I’d “initially” (bring this man more coffee) misread 34D as “WWII letters”, so was thinking “Hmmm. President? General? Theater of operations?” Doh!

@gespenst, me too re not easy. BEQ recently coined “easium” and “mard” for difficulty levels in between the usual three. Nice. As are the M/W/F puzzles on his blog.

@everybody, I always use “Doh!”, I guess ‘cause I’m a picky ‘postrophe person. Any theories re what “D’oh!” is supposed to be a contraction of? Inquiring minds want to know.

Libbyj said...

I'm a new poster - been lurking for a while when I've gotten stuck on the puzzles. Thanks for your blog, it's been very helpful.

@ Nonesuch - this was the name of a grand palace that Henry VIII designed after the death of wife #3. It was to be the most perfect castle/palace in the world. It no longer exists, but he did design it and had it built.

Tinbeni said...

@Libbyj - as Bruce Willis said in Die Hard, "Welcome to the Party Pal!"

In the early '90's I had a software company (I was the biz.guy) and I asked my partner what HTTP meant.
He told me, then said "It doesn't really matter, just type it in."
At the time a total "DUH!"

Liked B-STARS crossing ASTRonomy, Sagan subj.
CATTLEPROD for 'stock mover' was cleaver.
Took my BEST SHOT, had the middle. The four CW101's in place.
Then entered JUNK for 'Like some U.S.Mail' and it became a WHACK JOB.
Didn't like the 19, or is it 20, two and three word answers.
When I finally completed had probably the most write-overs ever.

@Lit.doc. - as I used above; Duh!
The d'oh is a Homer Simpson expression. Learned only because I do crossword puzzles.
Like a whole slew of trite fill, that hold the puzzles together, they are necessary. As to 'D'oh' ... I don't care what it means.

@ORANGE Your write-ups and clips were more enjoyable than the puzzle!

Charlie don't tweet said...

@Shrub - Cohen doesn't talk much about what the songs are about anymore, ever since he spilled the beans about Chelsea Hotel being about Joplin.

The song seems to be about a tragically failed relationship and how egos, on both sides, got in the way of something that started out sweet. One example:

Maybe there's a God above,
but all I ever learned from love,
is how to shoot somebody who outdrew ya

... and from the 'lost verse':

I did my best and it wasn't much,
I couldn't feel so I learned to touch,
I told the truth - I didn't come to fool ya;
and even though it all went wrong
I'll stand before the lord of song,
with nothin on my lips but Hallelujah

Or so I think anyway.

mac said...

Good puzzle, great music and excellent blogging today, Orange!
You've said it all; my worst write-over was 1A: crackpot.....
I only know one Hudson Hawk.

gespenst said...

@lit.doc: glad I'm not the only one to have some trouble with this!

I'd have to call this one "mard" lol!


More frustrating today than any other this week. Started with pencil and paper and but moved to the online version. Seemed to help; only 1 or 2 red letters.

New words for me were oda and tret.

Love the KD Lang version of Hallelujah. A beautiful song by Leonard Cohen. Jeff Buckley's is beautiful too.

Have wonderful weekend.

Tinbeni said...

@Lit.doc & @gespenst

@Orange pointed out it was a notch or two (three?) harder than most Sat. LAT offerings.

I think our solving abilities were lulled to sleep by this weeks Monday thru Thurday EASY puzzles.

But if I were to rate it, I would do it Croatian.
Not Mard. It was Bik Sranje !!!

Only learned/know about 10 words in their language. That one means BS.

Anonymous said...

Crappy editing on this one. I take REAL umbrage with "whack job" meaning a nut. That is DEFINITELY not the meaning that I learned for that phrase and it has no place in ANY puzzle!!!. And, k d lang won the Grammy in 1993, not 1992!

Orange said...

@grumpy Anonymous: I think you're right about the Grammy ('93 award for a '92 recording).

I have no idea what meaning you learned for WHACK JOB, and I wonder if this is akin to the NYT crossword including SCUMBAG because the editor and constructor didn't know the word's origin as slang for "condom." But today, what whack job means is "a crazy, possibly dangerous, person," which approximates a "nut." If you think it strictly means definition 4 at urbandictionary.com, get your mind out of the gutter!

Tinbeni said...

@Anon 4:56
The 35th Grammys were held in February 1993. They recognize accomplishments & artists from the PREVIOUS year.
Ergo, when K.D.Lang won in 1993, it was for her song "Constant Craving" from 1992.

Of course "whack job" could be a mafia hit.
But I think you are right, and Anon had his mind in the gutter.

Sfingi said...

Hard for me; Googled.

@LibbyJ - great beginning! I prefer your def to Mr. Healy's;
never knew that NONESUCH meant something exact. For sure, it was a vinyl record brand.

Didn't know PALP, the SABINE River or BSTAR.
And I've raved against arbitrary abrevs. ASTRonomy - stop anywhere in the word you want, huh? What's the abrev for astrology?

Would have never picked the clues for ASIS, HOLED or OOF.

Wanted "Busch" for PABST, but Frederick Busch is a writer, and what do I know about beer?

Can't stand Bruce Willis. Love KDLAING, though I had "braitt" for Bonnie Raitt, at first - but do people really remember which year someone gets a Grammy or Emmy?

Thanx Fred for few sports clues, no Starstuff or Henry Potter and some easy Crosswordese 101.

@DDBMC - Your TOSCA connection is impressive. How old R U?

@CrazyCatL and LitDoc - This SABINE looks narrow but fast from photos - is it?

@Parsan - Jenna Wolfe said she lived in Haiti for a 12 years, speaks Creole and is a grad of SUNY Binghamton. She hasn't made any comments, though. (That's the homophone, populace, by the way.)

I guess it all depends on whether one is on the same wave length of the puzzler. Or wind direction.

Entropy said...

When I finished my grid looked like a Rorschack test.

Have no idea why I knew TOSCA.
K.D.LANG came once I HOLED that putt.
Had the _SHARP and waited to see what would finally arrive.
ODA, LOA, PALP, RIC & COCA were gimmies. I'm new to the daily CW solves but I have dabbled over the years.

@Orange - I'm going to stop checking your Fiend Blog for 2 reasons. 1) Seems they talk about the NYT or other puzzles (minor cop-out) and 2) When I see your solve time I feel like I must be an idiot (trust me, I'm not, but 4:07 damn!).

Orange - I think your write up was wonderful.

chefwen said...

Frederick PABST was a gimme for me as I was raised in Milwaukee. His mansion is gorgeous and can be toured for free. They decorate it to the nines every Holiday season.

@Shrub5 - Just watched that clip today, very funny.

Thought the puzzle was a little tougher than normal but fun to solve. Any puzzle that has a WHACK JOB in it, has to be good.

Entropy said...

I could not agree with you more.
But when this WHACK JOB, ersatz AIR HEAD, who needed a CATTLE PROD to finish turned out to be me. Well ...

Drank a lot of PABST in nam, where I learned that a lot of Thai natives were LAO (mis-typed above).

When I had a 'Gut reaction' in my life, it was never an OOF.

Finally, I been checking out the LAT Crossword Corner (made some comments there too) but I noticed that after approx. noon or so, comments about the puzzle cease.
Here y'all get a bit off the beaten path sometimes, I take some of you have been coming here for a while, so there are a few personal comments, but still you talk about the puzzle.

I like that a whole lot.

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
CrazyCat said...

@Sfingi - we used to go to Florida in September. I remember the Sabine River as being pretty dry at that time of year. TX gets intense spring rains and all of the rivers and creeks tend to flood or overflow. I haven't lived in Dallas since 1992, so that may have changed. The East TX Piney Woods was beautiful country as I recall.

Jan said...

Made a mistake right off the bat, with CRACKPOT instead of WHACKJOB. Took a while to see the problem!